The biggest problem most aspiring writers face has nothing to do with technology, websites, social media, SEO, or anything of that stuff that sounds so complicated.
The biggest problem for most aspiring writers (and many working writers, to be honest) is simply sitting down to write. It sounds like an easy thing to do, but in practice it’s deceptively hard.
To solve this problem, I’ve created a four-step process to help my personal coaching clients develop a lively writing practice:
Step 1: Acknowledge that sitting down to write is hard, and stop making yourself wrong.
Give yourself permission to be human. Making ourselves feel bad about not writing isn’t going to help us feel good about writing in general. Tell yourself you’re sorry for making yourself wrong. It’s that simple. Just say it to yourself.
Done? Okay, moving forward.
Step 2: Treat yourself as well as you treat your clients.
Or, if that doesn’t work for you, try this one: Treat yourself as well as you treat your children.
When you schedule a slot for someone else in your life, you show up. You don’t cancel on a client unless serious stuff hits the fan and you don’t not show up for your kids. So take yourself that seriously. Schedule your writing sessions, and show up for them like you’re showing up for someone else.
Step 3: Create a proper environment.
If you can, have a dedicated “writing space.” A desk you sit at, a pillow you sit on, a certain table in a certain coffee shop, whatever it is. Go to that space when it’s writing time. Try not to go to that space when it’s not writing time. If you are consistent with this, eventually your body and mind will clue in that “when I go here I write.” It’s a little like litter box training, except hopefully you’ve created a nicer “writing space” for yourself then that.
Step 4: Create a ritual that signifies your writing session is starting and sets your mind.
Wear a certain sweatshirt. Drink a certain type of tea. Walk backward around the desk three times. Whatever it is. Have a sequence of things that puts you in the mindset of writing. I like to make and drink tea, sit on a pillow in a corner, read a short story or a couple articles about writing, then get to work. For you, maybe a few minutes of meditation focused on a writing or creative intention would be good? Maybe listening to a certain piece of music? Everybody has different rituals, so experiment in finding yours.
Writing won’t happen because you want it to. You need to take action to make writing space and time occur. Make a commitment to your writing times for the upcoming week. Sit there for thirty minutes each day staring at the wall if that’s what happens. Be okay with it, and know if you practice making space and time, the writing practice itself will soon follow.
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